A Rum Tale: The History of Rum and the Royal Navy

Pusser's Rum has a long history and relationship with the British Royal Navy. Here is everything you need to know about the history of rum and the navy.

When we think of rum, our minds often immediately go to hardworking sailors sailing on the high seas. Of course, there are no better sailors on earth than the fine men and women of the British Royal Navy. It should be no surprise, then, that the British Royal Navy and rum have a long and storied history.

If you're interested in learning more about this important historical relationship, read on. There's a clear reason that Pusser's Navy Rum exists, and here you'll find out what that reason is.

Sailing in the 1600s

As you probably already know, Great Britain took control of a number of Caribbean islands during the 1600s, including St. Kitts, Barbados, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Anguilla, and Tortola. The demand at home for sugar was high, and these islands offered the perfect climate for growing sugarcane.

Soon, slaves and plantation owners discovered that rum could be made with sugar through fermentation and soon they were making barrels and barrels of it.

Many of these barrels were sent across the Atlantic to Europe. There was only one problem. Pirates love rum, and the trading ships were being robbed on a regular basis. Then enters the British Royal Navy.

British Royal Navy Rum

Of course, the British Royal Navy came to the rescue. Their ships and sailors helped to protect the trading ships that were carrying this precious cargo. In turn, the traders paid them well in cash - and in rum. 

These hardworking sailors had difficult lives at sea. The conditions aboard their ships were crowded and dirty. They missed their loved ones and home lives. To relax, British sailors drank alcohol on board. They tried beer, wine, gin, and other spirits, but nothing hit quite right. Once rum made it on board, though, it was a hit.

Of course, they had to be careful. They were military men, after all, and they had important jobs to do. They could not simply drink all of the time, even on long voyages. As a result, the purser rationed each sailor's rum.

That's how Pusser's British Navy Rum came to be. The nickname for the purser was the "pusser;" he doled out the British Navy rum ration to the sailors each day. This tradition continued for over three hundred years.

The Rum Ration Comes to an End

A little over fifty years ago, in 1970, the British Royal Navy decided this tradition must come to an end. With the sophisticated weapons on board modern navy ships, the powers decided that it was unwise to continue the rum ration for today's sailors.

On the morning of July 31, 1970, British sailors on ships in every part of the globe enjoyed one last tot together.  Today, we remember this day as "Black Tot Day" each year.

Fortunately, that wasn't the end of the original Royal Navy rum, though. Charles Tobias, our company's founder, got the rights to produce it, and now we all can enjoy Pusser's British Navy Rum anywhere you buy your spirits, or even in the comfort of our own homes. 

Drink Pusser's Navy Rum

You can be a part of the long tradition of Brits and navy rum by drinking navy rum yourself. Every time you take a sip, you can remember the fine sailors of the British Royal Navy and their relationship with this beverage. Enjoy!

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